South Africa: Giving children a chance
Providing access to education and healthcare for children affected by HIV from very poor families.
People living in extreme poverty
Around the port and car manufacturing city of East London (South Africa), there is still a high level of extreme poverty, with many children living in socially unstable households in informal settlements. Through the ‘Ilitha - rays of light’ project, SolidarMed provides holistic academic, psychosocial and health support to children affected by HIV and living in poverty.
Keyfacts about the project
Aim of the project
To allow children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS from poor backgrounds to live a dignified life.
375 children & adolescents and 175 adults (parents), all of whom are living in poverty and many of whom are affected by HIV.
Establishment of a learning and meeting centre with nursery, learning support for school children and courses for parents.
Providing psychosocial and medical support for children and parents living in poverty and affected by HIV; offering after-school learning support; organising workshops for caregivers on parenting, alcohol and drug use, gender-based violence and managing money.
Keyfacts about the project
The project in a nutshell
Children and adolescents affected by HIV and living in poverty in informal settlements and on farms around the South African city of East London are often lacking the parental affection, parenting, stimulation, academic support and medical care they need for healthy development. They therefore end up in their parents’ vicious circles of poverty, poor education, unemployment and a lack of prospects, alcohol and drug use, right through to domestic violence. In short, an environment in which HIV can easily spread.
SolidarMed has been working with local partner organisation, Jika Uluntu, to support these children and adolescents and their parents since 2017. The project aims to help improve physical and mental health, enhance school attendance and performance, and boost the economic resilience of households. SolidarMed is therefore helping to give children and adolescents the chance to break out of this vicious circle and have a brighter future.
Support programmes encourage school attendance
The project’s nursery supports the cognitive and motor skills development of babies and toddlers. Meanwhile, children receive help with homework and age-appropriate education on HIV/AIDS. The resource centre provides children with lunch to make sure they are not going to school on an empty stomach, which in turn improves their ability to learn and school attendance. An after-school programme supports children with their learning.
Caregivers are taught about parenting in training sessions, and social workers help them implement what they have learned during home visits. Meanwhile, children and adolescents are also taught manners and social skills through a youth skills programme, counselling sessions and organised leisure activities.
Better mental well-being
HIV-positive parents and children receive medical and psychosocial support. For example, in workshops they learn about HIV, TB, and alcohol and drug use. They also regularly take vital antiretroviral drugs.
Improving money management
Households receive training in managing tight budgets and applying for state benefits and support. Also, adolescents and adults who are looking for work or training receive support and guidance to help them enter the world of work.
More on the topic
Infectious diseases are not the only major threat in southern Africa. More and more people are also suffering from chronic diseases.